24 Proofreading Symbols You Need To Know About

The phrase “Nobody’s perfect” is true, especially in the world of writing. Even the best writers make mistakes. This happens as there are so many things to focus on that we tend to overlook small details in our writing. As a writer, our goal is ultimately to make our writing as clear and persuasive as possible — this is why proofreading is essential.

Since there might be many different types of errors and changes that might occur and needed to be changed in a single piece of writing, proofreaders and editors come up with different symbols to make the editing process easier. With just one symbol, the writer can understand what kind of changes should be made to the writing, making the process more efficient. 

Here we have listed out 24 proofreading symbols that you need to know about. 

1. New paragraph 

This symbol signifies that a new paragraph should be added. The addition of a new paragraph can help break up the text, making it easier for readers to read the writing. It could also help show readers in following an extensive dialogue without stating which of the character is actually speaking. 

2. Delete

When this symbol is used over a letter or word, this means that the element is to be removed. 

3. Close up space

It’s very easy to miss extra spaces in a piece of writing — the close up space symbol can be used to remove those unnecessary spaces. 

4. Transposed

Sometimes when we write, our brains can get flustered, causing us to put the words in the wrong order. This symbol will show which elements should be switched.

5. Stet

Even proofreaders can make mistakes. This symbol means that the correction made by the editor or proofreader should be ignored.

6. Space

This happens to the best of us. This symbol shows that there should be a space between elements that we have missed.

7. Spell out

For the sake of clarity or consistency, sometimes it is necessary to spell out the abbreviations.

8. Insert above or below

When a word or a phrase is missing, the symbol will be used to show where the word should be added in the sentence.

9. Period

The most obvious symbol of them all — the full stop. Period.

10. Comma

Commas are crucial in dividing sentences. This symbol will show where the comma should be placed.

11. Apostrophe

We often forget whether an apostrophe should be inserted or not. This symbol symbolizes where the apostrophe should be placed.

12. Quotation marks

The use of quotation marks can show if the marked word/sentence is either a dialogue or slang or a part of a dialogue.

13. Parens

In a passage, parenthesis is added to give further explanation and information. 

14. en dash

An en dash is wider than a hyphen but narrower than the em dash. It is typically used between dates.

15. em dash

The use of the em dash can substitute for commas, parentheses or colons. They are also regarded as less formal than parentheses. Em dashes are slightly longer than en dashes.

16. Capitalize

Capitalization is very important. It shows the start of a sentence, important words in a sentence and more. This symbol will remind the writer that the word should be capitalized.

17. Lowercase

Consistency in lowercase is just as important as capitalization.

18. Align vertically

These two lines are used to show that the word/sentence should be aligned vertically against each other. Most useful when writing lists and addresses.

19. Align horizontally

This line will inform writers that the words should be aligned horizontally with each other.

20. Superscript and subscript

These are characters that are put either above or below a character. It is also in a smaller font in comparison to the rest of the text.

21. Italics

Italics are used to emphasize a word or phrase.

22. Bold

Words or phrases which are written in bold to signify importance in the sentence.

23. Flush left and flush right

Margins are boundaries to the left, right, bottom and top of the document. It also serves to show that the article is neat and professional.

24. Center

This symbol signifies that the word/sentence should be aligned in the middle.

Did you have fun learning about different proofreading symbols and its functions? If you need help editing and proofreading your writing, we can help! 

Start a project with us today!

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